The role of the superintendent in implementing districtwide teacher salary reform
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With the need for greater understanding of the role of the superintendent in teacher salary reform, the qualitative study to explore the phenomenon of implementing districtwide teacher salary reform with superintendents of public schools in Texas was conducted. This study proposes to examine the role of the superintendent in teacher salary reform in Texas. It analyzes the perceptions of current of former superintendents in “first mover” districts with substantial experience involved in the implementation of a districtwide strategic teacher salary plan. This study illuminated superintendents’ considerations and priorities during the implementation process as well as their reflections of the strengths and weaknesses of the resulting strategic teacher compensation plan. This qualitative phenomenological study answered the following questions: (a) What considerations are presented by superintendents in the development and implementation of a districtwide strategic teacher compensation plan? (b) What priorities are given by superintendents related to considerations in the development and implementation of a districtwide strategic teacher compensation plan? (c) What differences and commonalities are expressed by superintendents in comparable school districts regarding considerations and priorities? The phenomenological interview approach was used with a sample of three superintendents of current and former superintendents in districts that implemented a districtwide strategic teacher compensation plan. The three one-on-one interview participants were superintendents of Texas first mover school districts that implemented a districtwide strategic teacher compensation plan. Each one-on-one interview was conducted in person and lasted about 60 to 90 minutes. The interviews were recorded and transcribed through Rev.com. The interview data yielded the following five themes about implementing a strategic compensations plan: (a) superintendents need to know the local context; (b) compensation needs to be linked to what the district values; (c) a school district cannot afford to reward high performing teachers if they carry the financial burden of low performing teachers; (d) if you have accountability without support, you have a climate of fear. The findings supported the applicability of Bolman and Deal’s framework and Olivarez’s 10 functions of school districts to charter schools. Advocacy and education about leadership models is needed, and additional research for understanding the roles other stakeholders, such as principals, play in the implementation of teacher salary reform.
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